Lament for Staker Wallis
A mhic Ui Walsh an leon
A chuaigh da bhathadh ins an moin....
O son of Walsh, the hero,
Who went drowning in the bog.....
But for the man who took Wallis there were hard words indeed:
A mhic Ui Shioda, nar bhuai Chriost leat,
A lean e trid an gceo.
O Son of Sheedy, may not Christ grant you victory,
Who chased him through the fog.
The beautiful air of `The Lament for Staker Wallis' remains a firm
favourite with pipers and violinists.'
note: The above extract is from `A Portrait of Limerick'
P.168 `In The Ballahoura Country'.
The late Leo Rowsome has a beautiful version of the air
on his record with Claddagh Records... `Ri na bPiobairi'....'The
King of the Pipers'. Cernini Cladaig CC1. There is also another
version by the Dublin piper Tommy Reck on an RTE record produced
by Sean O'Riada ... `Our Musical Heritage' Sean O'RIada.
RTE. FR. 001/002/003.
Not far from St.Molua's Well, in the townland of Tiermore was
born, in the year 1733, the man whose name, more than that of any
other, has come to be associated with Kilfinane. Staker Wallis -
his real name was Patrick Wallis - was a small farmer who, well
past middle age, wholeheartedly subscribed to the then
revolutionary proposals of the newly founded United
Irishmen, that Irishmen of all creeds and classes should unite
for the purpose of securing the freedom of their country.
Wallis became the leader of his local company of United
Irishmen, thereby attracting the attention of Captain Charles
Oliver, a tyrannical magistrate who lived in Kilfinan
was a law unto himself in the district, and under the pretext
that Wallis was plotting to kill him, he decided to arrest him
and charge him with planning his murder. And so, on a foggy
March morning in the year 1798, Oliver and a troop of Yeomanry
rode out from Kilfinane and headed northwards for Tiermore.
Wallis saw them coming and fled into the Red Bog.
The yeomanry force included some local men who had been
pressed into service by Oliver because they had good horses.
Oliver now ordered these local men to ride after Wallis across
the treacherous surface of the bog.
A man named Michael Walsh had the best horse and soon found
himself gaining rapidly on Wallis. Walsh, however, had no wish
to capture the fugitive; at the very first opportunity he jumped
his valuable horse into a bog hole and only barely escaped being
sucked down into the mire himself. It was another local man,
Roger Sheehy who finally caught up with Wallis and held
him until the remainder of the party arrived on the scene.
Wallis was taken
the United Irishmen; and when Wallis refused to talk, Oliver had
him tied to the heels of a cart and flogged up and down the main
street of Kilfinane. Wallis, still refusing to inform on his
friends, was hanged a few days later. He was then beheaded, and
his head was set on a spike above the market house in the square.
The heroism of Staker Wallis, and his tragic fate, made a
tremendous impact on the local people, and he became, and has
ever since remained, one of the great popular heroes of this part
of County Limerick. In a fragment of a contemporary caoineadh,
or lament, for him that has survived there are words of praise
for the action of Michael Walsh. FH